Preparing for IBOLC

Preparing for IBOLC

Prepping for IBOLC can be daunting. You’re preparing for something that you know will be challenging, but a lot of it is unknown. Here are the 4 areas we recommend you preparing for prior to the course. 

Fitness

You’re trying to become an Infantry Officer, not a Logistics Officer. Infantry Officers are the most fit in the formation. If you show up to IBOLC not being very fit, you’re showing everyone else around you that you aren’t serious about being a good Infantry Officer. Yes, we know that fitness isn’t everything. But it is a thing, and it is important.

For you, this means spending the months prior to IBOLC getting physically ready. Put in the time and effort. That means a lot of running, rucking, compounds lifts, and circuit style / CrossFit style workouts. If all you are doing is lifting because it's what you like to do, you'll really regret it. You want to be well-rounded so you can keep up with any PT event, and you specifically want to be ready for an RPA, ACFT, and some longer distance rucking. An RPA is the Ranger School fitness test of push-ups, sit-ups, 5-mile run, and chin-ups, and is frequently used to assess candidates prior to attending Ranger School, because it will be used at Ranger School as the first tested event. 

During the course, you’ll spend the majority of your time out in the field from Monday – Friday. Because you’re in the field, you’ll be working out a lot less (in the traditional sense), sleeping less, and not eating your best. All of this results in a gradual decline in your fitness throughout the course. As an example, imagine you arrive on day 1 with a fitness level of 8 on a 0-10 scale. After 16 rough & tough weeks at IBOLC, your fitness degrades to a 5. Alternatively, consider arriving at a 6, after 16 weeks, you’re degraded to a 2-3. Not only does high level of fitness help your physical resilience (it can help injury prevention as well during the challenging demands of IBOLC), but when you show up very fit, you have some room to degrade.

Post-IBOLC, a 5 can get back to being an 8 faster than a 2 can get to an 8. That fitness is important as you take graded physical events through IBOLC, and inevitably have to pass an RPA in order to get a shot at Ranger School. You should be doing everything you can to complete Ranger before leaving Fort Moore.

As an overview, show up to IBOLC physically ready to:

  1. Pass an RPA (this includes real / complete push-ups). We recommend achieving at least each of the following:
    • 55+ perfect push-ups
    • 70 sit-ups
    • 9 chin-ups
    • 37:30 5-mile run
  2. Score a 575+ on the ACFT
  3. Able to ruck 8-miles with 45 pounds in a backpack, under 1:55.
  4. Run two-miles in 14:00 or below.

If you want specifically help with prep, use our IBOLC Advanced Guide. Even if you don’t want this, do something to prepare. You’ll be so happy you did. The top comment we hear about IBOLC was that the LT wished they showed up fit, or was getting shipped out to their unit without a tab because they couldn’t pass the RPA at the end, or within a couple weeks after IBOLC. 

At IBOLC, when you aren't in the field (and even sometimes when you are), you will have organized PT. Whenever you have the chance, complete PT on your own. Especially towards the start of the course when there is less field time, and during OPORD weeks when you are in a classroom. 

Confidence

Start considering it now – IBOLC can be a scary place. It's okay to admit that. It’s your first step into the military, you may not know anyone, you’ve moved to a new place, and you want to do great. It’s okay to be nervous.

We don’t have a magic solution to help you become confident. But we can help you develop it. First, consider that you’ve done months of training up to the point of arriving. You commissioned because you met the requirements. You then physically trained so you could perform. Those two things alone should make you feel ready for what is ahead - you did the work. Everything else you need to know to succeed will be taught. They don’t expect you to know everything about Infantry upon arriving. However, they expect you to be ready to learn, work hard, and absorb new material.

Leverage what you’ve done in your past (you’ve met commissioning requirements and done the physical prep), to help you show up more confident. You do belong there, and you should act like it. If you show up not feeling confident on day 1, look around at others who do seem confident. Look around at others who don’t. How can you physically emulate the ones who do, and avoid the ones who don’t?

OPORDs

For many, this is the hardest academic skill of IBOLC. Most don't have exposure to OPORDs prior to IBOLC. If this is you, don’t worry. You will be taught what you need to know in your classes. As previously mentioned, be confident that you have the right background, and when the OPORD portion of the course comes around, learn as much as you can. Ask questions, use doctrine to help gather more information, and work with your peers. Your instructors will frequently make themselves available to you for extra support – take them up on it. Know that most pass the OPORD assessments, and you can as well if you put in the work. 

Our resource for OPORDs is The OPORD Blue Book. Over 200 pages, it breaks down everything you need to know to be successful. For many, it can serve as a great read ahead to familiarize yourself. By the time you are taught the classes, you will already understand the basics. 

Once you formally learn about OPORDs in IBOLC, The Blue Book can serve as resource material to support your efforts within the graded OPORDs you complete in class.

Personal Life

IBOLC is going to be busy. Although you’ll have most weekends off, your weeks will be non-stop. Many of which will be in the field (away from home). First, begin to emotionally prepare for this. You may be coming from a period of relaxation and stress-free living leading up to IBOLC (if you can do this, do it!). Moving from that environment into IBOLC can be a large emotional adjustment. Acknowledging that now can help you feel better about the change once it comes. Secondly, if you have a family, make sure they understand what's ahead. You being away for the majority of each week can be difficult on your spouse / partner, children, and other family and friends. Have a deliberate conversation about it prior to attending.

 

 

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Below, we've included other miscellaneous information based on FAQs we receive. 

Ranger School

As of now, and this frequently changes, everyone graduating IBOLC moves to 2-11 HHC Schools Platoon where they wait to take an RPA. Everyone that passes that RPA then moves to Ranger Platoon where they go through a "Pre-Ranger," sometimes called RCERT. RCERT is meant to simulate RAP week and features an RPA, obstacle courses, RTTs, land navigation, rucks, and other events. As long as you pass all the events, you will go to Ranger School. RCERT typically happens about 2 weeks prior to a Ranger School start date. 

If you failed the initial RPA in Schools Platoon then you remain there until the next RPA comes around where you either pass and move to Ranger Platoon or fail and move to PCS Platoon (where you prepare to leave Fort Moore and go to your first duty station). If you go to Ranger School and fail the RPA, you may have a second shot to return after going through RCERT again. 

In addition to what we previously discussed about fitness, this is another reminder of why it's so important. The second IBOLC ends, you need to aggressively get after your fitness. The sooner you can recover from the weeks of IBOLC, the sooner you can get ready for the demands of Ranger. 

For more on Ranger School, check out our Ranger School FAQs

IBOLC Graded Events

  • Height / Weight
  • M4 Qualification
  • Land Navigation
  • Troop Leading Procedures (OPORDs)
  • ACFT
  • 12-Mile Ruck
  • 5-Mile Run
  • Peer Reviews (others rating you on you as a leader and teammate)
  • Patrol Leadership
  • Academic Exams
  • Various other Physical Tests, include RPAs throughout the course (some have had one in week 3, and one is week 11)

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If you’re interested in more information about IBOLC, ask the question on the Blue / Green Community page. The B/G team, others currently at Fort Moore in IBOLC, and other recent graduates can help answer.

Other online resources:

- Virtual Branch Orientation (this is a couple years old, so while the general themes may be accurate, the specifics may not)

- Thoughts on Infantry Branch

- IBOLC Facebook Page (2-11 Infantry)

The best advice for IBOLC is don't worry. Physically prepare yourself in the months leading up to the course, ensure you and your family is mentally ready for something challenging, and embrace the learning experience ahead. People constantly begin the course, learn as they go, succeed, graduate, and move onto bigger and better. Have the confidence to know that you can do the same. Don't let the worry of the course ruin the time you have leading up to the course.  

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Blue / Green Training designs comprehensive fitness guides for military athletes. Our goal is to enable success and capture potential. Our guides include carefully designed fitness programming and explanations to help our athletes understand the concepts behind it all - something we haven't seen anywhere else. We inspire confidence in our athletes by teaching them effective physical training so they can continue their progress after our programming ends. We guarantee you'll get value from our material. 

Blog related to : Ranger School, RLTW, Army Ranger, Ranger Regiment, IBOLC, Military Fitness, Military Athlete, Military Training, Military Athlete Programming 

 

 


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